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Many people crave the spiciness of chile peppers in their food, the hotter the better, while others scrunch their nose at the twinge of hotness on their tongue and beg for a drink. But where did this fascinating ingredient originate?

The Origin of Chiles

Researchers believe chile peppers originated in the Americas, specifically Mesoamerica (comprised of parts of modern day Central America), as far back as 400 BC. Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Mayans and Aztecs believed chile peppers had medicinal properties and used them not only for cooking but to treat coughs, sore throats, and toothaches.

Christopher Columbus was the first to name the fruit of the Capsicum plant “pimienta”, Spanish for pepper, because they had a similar taste to the rare, costly black peppercorns from his home country. Realizing these “pimientas” were an inexpensive substitute for the peppercorns, Columbus took them to Spain, and the use of chile peppers spread quickly around the world.

The Versatility of Chiles

Chile peppers are members of the nightshade family, related to bell peppers and tomatoes. Cayenne and jalapeño are two of their many varieties. They can be used in many different ways to liven up a dish and are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are primarily used as a spice but can be cooked or dried and powdered.

One of the best ways to preserve chile peppers is through drying or dehydrating them. With all moisture removed, the flavor and heat of the peppers is more concentrated, creating a versatile ingredient. Dried chiles can be rehydrated for use in sauces, soups, stews and chilis.

A Chile Pepper Fiesta 

Whether you are looking for just the right food to expand your taste palette or that hard-to-find ingredient for your favorite spicy dish, look no further than Don Juan Chiles. We take pride in supplying the best dried chiles to our customers around the globe. To order dried chiles online, plus over 250 other delicious products, visit our online shop today.

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